Art Rental has been an Oberlin College tradition at the Allen Memorial Art Museum since 1940. This year it continues on Saturday, September 12, with the added bonus of free rentals for the academic year.
Traditionally, Oberlin’s semesterly program prompted students to begin forming lines the day before the event, in hopes of getting first dibs on their choices. Students then leafed through rows of art pieces before selecting up to two works to rent at $5 each.
This year, in order to continue the tradition, students will enter through the main doors of the museum—keeping six feet of social distance—and exit through the rear door, all while wearing masks. The program is also being expanded by three hours this year to enable more time for students to move through the process. it will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Each student will be shown a random choice of five works, eliminating the need for students to feel that they have to arrive early or camp out the night before to get their first choice. By allowing each student to only rent one work, instead of two, AMAM personnel believes there is potential to serve more students. Students will also not be charged for rentals this academic year.
‘‘We think all the works in the program are great and hope that by doing this, students will discover a work they might not otherwise have chosen,” says John G. W. Cowles Director Andria Derstine. ‘‘This year marks the program’s 80th anniversary. Museum staff felt it was important to continue this event for several reasons. The primary reason is that we believe in the importance of art not only for education but also as a means of providing enjoyment and comfort in challenging situations.
‘‘Art is thought-provoking, can promote dialogue, and can be uplifting. This is a moment when all of those qualities can likely prove beneficial to our community. We also wanted to maintain the program simply because so much else has changed in students' lives. Keeping the program going this year helps create some sense of normalcy. The museum is here for the students and maintaining the program for them is very important to us.’’
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